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A Nomad’s Notes: How fortunate was I?

This week, for my column, I feel like writing about gifts. Because there are all kinds of gifts out there. Lately these gifts have been from me to myself and have all been France-related. But hey, when you become obsessed with a French film and Bath and Body Works has French-themed stuff, you tell your debit card to suck it up and do as its told. My account may not be where it should be, but at least my apartment smells like a Parisian café.

And then there are other kinds of gifts. I like to think of them as gifts from the universe/God/the void — you name it. These are the gifts that kind of remind of those moments in a video game (I’ve not gamed in years, so forgive my poor terminology) where your character is meandering around and coins they need just happen to appear here and there.

There are small gifts I’ve received, like needing some advice and getting exactly the right kind I need from the next book I crack open (this actually happened two nights ago).

There are medium-sized gifts from the universe I’ll never forget, like hearing my second-favorite song in a restaurant halfway across the world in Haarlem, The Netherlands, and freaking out in a European bathroom and singing along. Or, more recently, deciding to speak French, which means opportunities for learning have just suddenly rolled themselves out for me like a red carpet to the premiere of a film that’ll do well on Rotten Tomatoes. Just a few minutes ago, an old high school classmate turned pen pal told me he wrote his response letter to me in French because he knows I’m learning it. I’m still smiling about that.

And then there are the huge gifts I still talk about to myself and to others I’d say at least once every two months. For example, the time actor John Krasinski, aka Jim Halpert on the American version of “The Office” (which is worth a watch, don’t let anyone convince you otherwise) accidentally followed me on Twitter. Twice. And he only follows like 115 people or so. And has more than a million followers. I spent August through October 2015 grinning constantly. Of course, he left once he realized he’d accidentally followed me and this other girl(although he must have been inept on Twitter to accidentally follow me TWICE), but even now when I watch “The Office” and see Jim being Jim, I remember he knows who I am.

Another example, and one I will probably talk about on my death bed, is that time I went to this coffee shop in Silver Lake, Calif., because so many other Star Trek fans had been there because they knew actor Chris Pine came in there quite often. None of the other girls had any luck, and I was hopeful but not expectant. So when I walked in and Tweeted where I was, I had to let the other girls know that no, in fact, he wasn’t there … until he was. He came in five minutes later. We had just arrived in Silver Lake from San Diego.

So there are two possibilities: either the timing aligned perfectly for us to be there at the same time or he saw us leaving our car to get coffee and decided it was a good time to go in, too.

And of course, one of, if not THE biggest gift: getting to the Great Pyramids in Egypt and lying in the sarcophagus of two ancient pharaohs. No, you’re not supposed to do it, but the locals encouraged it and even helped me climb in. Egypt has always been a spiritual place for me, and knowing I lay where ancient kings once did and then seeing royal mummies and knowing they would one day cross paths with mine was like a gift that felt like enjoying a gooey golden cookie Christmas morning.

So of course I think about these things a lot. But last night, I received another gift from singer Eddie Vedder. He could not speak about the May 17 death of beloved fellow singer Chris Cornell during a concert in England on June 6, but he spoke of the friendship they shared.

He said of trying to sleep not long after Cornell’s death: “And all these memories started coming in about 1:30 a.m. like woke me up. Like big memories, memories I would think about all the time. Like the memories were big muscles. And trying to sleep, it was like if the neighbors had the music playing and you couldn’t stop it. But then it was fine because then it got into little memories. It just kept going and going and going. And I realized how lucky I was to have hours worth of … you know if each of these memories was quick and I had hours of them. How fortunate was I?

I remember reading what he had said, freezing and looking up at nothing in particular, as I always do when I have a revelation.

Often I find these are the exact thoughts I have, but I’ve never been able to put them into words just so. It hit me hard how right he is. Yes, my time with Chris Pine in that coffee shop and my time in Giza sarcophagi may have only lasted minutes or seconds, but I’m telling you I think about my time in that ancient building every day. When I die and God gives me my tally of stuff I did in life ,I’m guessing it’ll at least be measured in years for the amount of time I spent focusing on those memories. I see them like a box of macarons; they’re all nice and nestled in a box, delicious and sitting in a bag, and whenever I need to I can simply reach in and grab one and savor it whenever and wherever.

Or it’s like a filing cabinet of memories. If I’m having a particularly bad day, I’ll go to the one labeled “Here’s when it wasn’t all bad,” and pull some files to help me feel whole again.

I could have nothing. All my worldly possessions, including my recent France-related purchases I love so much, could be taken from me any day. But no one can take away my memories. And that realization is a new gift all its own.

 

Lindsay Kriz is a staff writerfor the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email lkriz@brunswickbeacon.com.